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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Jul;38(7):1304-10.

Effects of gender on physiological responses during submaximal exercise and recovery.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, USA.



This investigation was conducted to compare the physiological responses of men and women, both during and following an exercise bout at the same relative submaximal intensity.


Ten untrained men (20.7+/-0.5 yr, 178.4+/-2.3 cm, 79.6+/-4.8 kg; mean+/-SE) and 10 untrained women (20.3+/-0.3 yr, 163.8+/-2.2 cm, 59.5+/-2.1 kg) cycled for 30 min at 60-65% of their predetermined peak oxygen uptake. Physiological variables were measured before exercise, at 15 and 30 min of exercise, and at 5 and 15 min postexercise. For each variable of interest, a two-way repeated-measures of analysis was used to assess the main effects of gender and time, along with potential interactive effects.


Our data revealed that for many variables including HR, relative HR (% peak value), mean arterial pressure, and rectal temperature, men and women responded similarly both during exercise and throughout the recovery period. In contrast, significant (P<or=0.05) gender-related differences were noted for RER, plasma lactate, systolic blood pressure, and plasma volume shifts. In each of those variables, values displayed by men during exercise were significantly greater than those observed among women. However, with the exception of plasma lactate, those gender-related differences did not persist into recovery.


During exercise of the same relative submaximal intensity, some physiological parameters responded likewise in young men and young women, whereas others did not. Among those variables that demonstrated significant gender-related differences, all but one (plasma lactate) were obscured within 5 min of postexercise recovery.

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